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Familial Transmission of Alcohol Use: I. Parent and Adult Offspring Alcohol Use over 17 Years—Tecumseh, Michigan
Daniel W. Webster, Ernest Harburg, Lillian Gleiberman, Anthony Schork, Wayne DiFranceisco
A sample of 420 three-member sets of father, mother and adult offspring was drawn from a list of respondents from two rounds of a longitudinal health study in Tecumseh, Michigan. Parents’ self-reported drinking practices in 1960 were compared with those of their adult offspring 17 years later in 1977. A positive association between the drinking level of parents and their adult offspring was evident; however, this association varied according to: (1) the drinking level of the parent, (2) the gender of the offspring and (3) the gender of the parent. There is a tendency for offspring to drink abstemiously (i.e., abstain or drink low volume) when their parents were life-long abstainers. High-volume drinking by adult offspring was associated with the parents’ same drinking pattern, especially among daughters. Throughout the spectrum of drinking, sons’ drinking was more similar to fathers’ drinking level than to mothers’. The relationship between one parent’s drinking and his\/her offspring’s was dependent upon the drinking status of the other parent. These data support the hypothesis that parents’ drinking patterns may influence the drinking patterns of the offspring as adults.